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PANE´GYRIS (πανήγυρις) signifies a meeting or assembly of a whole people at fixed periods, varying in the different cases, for the purpose of worshipping at a common sanctuary. But the word is used in three ways:--1. For a meeting of the inhabitants of one particular town and its vicinity [EPHESIA]; 2. For a meeting of the inhabitants of a whole district, a province, or of the whole body of people belonging to a particular tribe [CARNEIA, DELIA, PAMBOEOTIA, PANIONIA]; and 3. For great national meetings, as at the Olympic, Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemean games. Such in its origin also was the great Amphictyonic meeting, which assumed more political importance than other panegyreis. Although, in all panegyreis which we know, the religious character forms the most prominent feature, the spectacles and amusements were the attraction to the larger number, nor were political discussions and resolutions excluded, though they were perhaps more a consequence of the presence of many persons than objects of the meeting. As regards their religious character, the panegyreis were real festivals in which prayers were performed, sacrifices offered, processions held, &c. The amusements comprehended the whole variety of games, gymnastic and musical contests, and entertainments. Every panegyris, moreover, was made by tradespeople a source of gain, and it may be presumed that such a meeting was never held without a fair, at which all sorts of things were exhibited for sale. (Paus. 10.32.9; Strabo x. p.486; Dio Chrysost. Orat. xxvii. p. 528.) In later times, when the love of gain had become stronger than religious feeling, the fairs appear to have become a more prominent characteristic of a panegyris than before; hence the Olympic games are called mercatus Olympiacus or ludi et mercatus Olympiorum. (Cic. Tusc. 5.3, 9; Just. 13.5; Veil. Pat. 1.8.) Festive orations were also frequently addressed to a panegyris, whence they are called λόγοι πανηγυρικοί. The Sophists made this the occasion for epideictic addresses (Quinctil. 3.4, 14) to the assembled Greeks; as when Gorgias or Lysias at Olympia preached national unity. To the Greeks the speech of Peter the Hermit at Clermont would have been a “panegyric.” The Panegyricus of Isocrates, [p. 2.334]though it was probably never delivered, is an imaginary discourse of this kind. (See Jebb, Attic Orators, 1.203 f; 2.150) In later times any oration in praise of a person was called panegyricus, as that of Pliny on the Emperor Trajan.

Each panegyris is treated of in a separate article. For a general account see Wachsmuth, Hell. Alt. i. p. 149, &c.; Boeckh, ad Pind. Ol. vii. p. 175, &c.; Hermann, Staatsalterth. § 10.

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